REPORT: Is Instagram becoming the emerging channel for online reviews?

Key take-a-ways:

  • Instagram generates 34% of all online food reviews in the food and travel market
  • Online reviews for restaurants increase over the Christmas period
  • Holidaymakers review as much on Facebook as they do traditional review sites and apps
  • 50% of online reviews by Holidaymakers are made on Facebook.
  • Consumers ‘review as they go’ whilst holidaying
  • 18-24 year olds are the most likely to leave an online reviews

Overview (Why was the research conducted?)

Recent research conducted by Review Trackers revealed that over 94% of consumers have actively avoided a business due to bad reviews left online.

When asked what review sites are the most popular the research revealed that Google is leading the pack followed by Yelp and TripAdvisor:  

Although the above channels do offer the biggest market share when it comes to online reviews, I wanted to conduct research to see what impact social channels such as Instagram and Twitter had when influencing a consumers purchase decision.

How was the research conducted?

The data was gathered by running social listening via Linkfluence.

The data was collected by running social listening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online review sites between the dates 1st January 2017 – 3rd March 2019

The social listening data used a mixture of keywords and phrases used when reviewing holiday experiences and restaurant/ dining experiences, the results of which are broken down below:

Instagram generates 34% of all online food reviews

Gaining good reviews for a restaurant can be the difference between success and failure. Many restaurants now KPI staff on gaining good reviews on channels such as TripAvisor and Google but often neglect social channels such as Instagram and Facebook.

Online review sites only take up 26% of the overall reviews with Instagram and Facebook leading the pack.

For a business understanding where these reviews are being written allows you to create a tailored strategy to combat any negative reviews. One challenge businesses face is the ability to see these reviews when they may not have been tagged in the post or the account maybe private. This being said business owners should continually look and stay on top of social channels to ensure they are seeing as much of the picture as possible.

Online reviews for restaurants increase over the Christmas period

Christmas is a key period for those working in retail and hospitality. The closure of office based businesses and the cheer of the holidays drives consumers into restaurants and establishments more regularly.

This trend mirrors exactly the number of online reviews with December being the month consumers are most likely to leave a review:

Between August and December we see the number of reviews increase dramatically. Although reviews should be monitored all year round, it’s worthwhile keeping a seasonal strategy in place to battle the more busier periods.

Holidaymakers review as much on Facebook as they do traditional review sites and apps

50% of online reviews by Holidaymakers are made on Facebook.

Facebook allows user to share their experiences with ease. This easiness has seen an increase in reviews being written whilst consumers are on holiday. Instead of reviewing the holiday overall upon their return, we are seeing consumers review as they go, posting updates during each event that happens on their travels.

Instagram is popular for creating aspirational posts, but holidaymakers are turning to Facebook to leave their honest opinions.

18-24 year olds are the most likely to leave an online reviews

Across all reviews analysed we see that 18-24 year olds are the most likely to leave a review. This demographic could potentially explain why social media is a more common platform when writing online reviews.

Summary

Whether its monitoring reviews or trying to increase positive reviews, businesses need to open their eyes to social channels as well as the more traditional review sites. In a time when social media usage continues to rise, social media could well be the future of all online reviews.

Using social listening businesses can monitor and create strategies that target key platforms and increase overall positive awareness of their services of products.